Nautical News: For the week of March 24, 2013

NOAA FISHERIES ANNOUNCES NEW PROPOSALS

NOAA Fisheries just announced new proposals for fishing year 2013 that were developed by the New England Fishery Management Council. This is in response to updated stock information and to adjust management measures that further protected groundfish stocks. It is hoped that these new proposals will enhance fishing opportunities for groundfish vessels, mitigating the negative economic impacts from the severe catch limits already imposed on them. One proposal will allow fishermen to request access to portions of year-round groundfish closed areas. Another proposal reduces the minimum sizes for most stocks so that fishermen no longer have to discard fish caught as a bycatch.


NEW STUDY SHOWS FISH STOCKS NOT AS BAD AS THOUGHT

Despite the doom and gloom the government claims about the fish populations, a new study done by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that many U.S. commercial fishing stocks have met their rebuilding targets. Mid-Atlantic fish stocks reported the most progress. However, 8 of the 50 species studied have shown no rebuilding progress and unfortunately, 6 of those 8 species are native to New England. Cod and flounder were 2 of those 6. New England fish stocks said to fully recovered included sea scallops, haddock, monkfish, and yellowtail flounder.


GULF OF MAINE SHRIMP SEASON COMING TO A CLOSE

With warnings that the Gulf of Maine shrimp population was in bad shape due to warmer ocean temperatures, fishermen knew this would be a rough shrimp season. Officials cut the Gulf of Maine shrimp quota by 74 percent. Fishermen thought the 1.4 million-pound quota would be fished up quickly, but the catch has been so paltry, regulators are now allowing boats to fish seven days a week instead of two they were initially allotted. They’ve also removed the 800-pound trip limit for shrimp trappers. The shrimp season comes to an end April 12th.


CITES PASSES SHARK FINNING RESTRICTIONS

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, often referred to as CITES, is an international agreement signed by 178 countries regulating global trade of endangered wild animals and plants including their parts and products. Because some of these fish are traded internationally and swim long distances, often crossing national boundaries, the trade agreement became necessary to regulate the harvest. At this year’s Convention in Bangkok, the member countries agreed to increase protection for five commercially exploited species of sharks and manta rays. Catching sharks will be restricted in many parts of the world because of the finning that goes on. The fins are cut off the sharks, and the sharks are thrown back into the water to die a slow death. Most shark fins are exported to Asia, where they are a main ingredient in shark fin soup, which is considered a delicacy in many Asian countries. Manta rays are caught for their gill plates.


COAST GUARD RELEASES RECREATIONAL BOATING STUDY

And here is a report of another study just completed. The Coast Guard completed 2011 National Recreational Boating Survey. This survey focused on overall boating participation, boat ownership, the types of boats used and the amount of time that boats are used for different regions of the country during 2011. The highest boating participation rate and the highest percentage of people who fished from a boat was concentrated in the Midwest. It is hoped that the collected data will also help assess the economic impact of boating by region. The Northeast had the highest percentage of households with one or more people who canoed or kayaked in 2011. 31.8 percent of the households in Maine had at least one member who kayaked or canoed, and New Hampshire had 31 percent. As for powerboats, Alaska and Florida rated the highest with 50 per cent of the households in those states using powerboats.


TUG BOAT GOES AGROUND IN BUZZARDS BAY CAPE COD

A tug boat ran aground in Buzzards Bay near the mouth of the Cape Cod Canal causing about 630 gallons of gear oil to be spilled. For a brief period of time, the canal was closed. The tug’s owner, New York based Reinauer Transportation Companies, said the starboard lower drive unit was damaged in the grounding. After the leaking was stopped, the tugboat was towed to the nearby Mass Maritime Academy where the damaged parts could be removed. An environmental cleanup company was hired to control and remove the spill. The Coast Guard said drug and alcohol tests were given to the captain and the crew.


COAST GUARD MUSEUM TO BE BUILT IN NEW LONDON, CT

Nautical Talk Radio has learned that New London, Connecticut will be home to the new Coast Guard Museum. It’s a project that’s been years in the making and the mayor of New London said the new museum will create jobs and boost his city’s economy. He predicted the museum would become a national treasure for our country. An official announcement will be made on April 5th, but you heard it here first.


SUPERMARKETS PLEDGE NOT TO SELL GENETICALLY MODIFIED FISH

Several supermarket chains in the U.S., including Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, have pledged not to sell genetically modified fish. A genetically modified salmon is awaiting approval for sale by the Food and Drug Administration, and the kicker is that the government has ruled that the fish do not have to be labeled as being genetically engineered. The FDA claims the fish would have “no significant impact” on the environment and would be as safe to eat as conventional salmon. However, environmental and consumer groups are against the sale of genetically modified salmon and some fear the fish could cause allergic reactions to some people.


MAN CAUGHT WITH STOLEN MOTOR AFTER ORDERING PARTS FOR IT

And last on today’s nautical news, Pennsylvania State police say they arrested a 22 year old man and charged him with stealing a Yamaha outboard motor after he tried to order a part for it. The motor was listed with the manufacturer Yamaha as being stolen. The owner had reported his boat, motor, and trailer stolen last September. Police recovered the boat and trailer, but not the motor until the thief ordered the part. The thief said he knew it wasn’t right, but thought he could just steal away and never get caught.

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